Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And later, we'll take a look at Acts 7:48-49

Today, we'll have a discussion of church building architecture, entitled "A Lesson in Extremes."

First, we have Crystal Cathedral in California. An embodiment of light and space, grandeur and intimacy, the glass structure is recognized the world over as an architectural treasure. It was featured recently alongside the Hagia Sofia, Notre Dame, St. Peter's Cathedral, and Barcelona's Segrada Familia in The History Channel's documentary "Building in the name of God."


Next, we'll take a look at the Church Under the Bridge, under I-35 and 4th Street, in Waco, Texas.

It's, uh, a bunch of people. Under a bridge.

Both are places people can go to worship God. Both teach and proclaim Christianity, although I imagine they are probably two slightly divergent "flavors" of Christianity.

Can two immensely opposite "institutions" truly stand for the same God? What say ye?


Big Doofus said...

I guess a better example would be a church that actually preaches Christ--not the Crystal Cathedral. And the answer is an obvious, "yes."

Or, was it a trick question?

Joe B said...

Do they not preach Christ? I just spent a half-hour browsing their website, and I can't agree.

It's Jesus everywhere. Lee Strobel and John Maxwell in their bookstore, a 52 week teaching of the Heidelberg Catechism. Atonement, faith, devotion, prayer and fasting for your loved ones salvation. They are not leading with exclusivism, but they are definitely preaching Jesus, and Him crucified.

Not my style, but I'd have a hard time denouncing them.

scott said...

Apart from the website, I don't know the details of what the Crystal Cathedral espouses. But then, I suppose I don't know the details of what the Church Under the Bridge preaches about, either -- I'm only assuming they both preach Christ, albeit probably in two very different manners.

My thoughts are mostly, in places like Crystal Cathedral, whether it is at best poor judgment (and quite possibly sin, quite frankly) to spend that kind of money on infrastructure. Regardless of what is preached from the pulpit, I wonder how "godly" the entire enterprise is in terms of caring for the poor when I hear stories of 40-foot solid gold crosses or whatever.

Joe B said...

Yeah, that stuff makes my skin crawl. Even if they do a lot of caring for the poor (and I think they are really generous), you know at least that the mega-millions that go into that 8th wonder of the world do not go to the needy.

They might argue that their mega-infrastructure brings people into the kingdom, and that those people bring their money with them. Thus the poor are served even more, on net, than if their ministry were based on a huge pot of soup under a bridge. So then, it comes down to the theology of infrastructure again. Whether the Church of Jesus is essentially an entrepreneurial thing or not.

Big Doofus said...


Do you just argue with me for the sake of arguing? Do you know who Robert Schuller is? You really think that he preaches the REAL Christ crucified? No. No. No. No.

And, "yes" it's probably wrong to have a big dumb building like that.

Joe B said...

I just said what I saw on the website. I think that's why Scott put the link into his article.

Joe B said...

I recalled that the big glass conspicuous consumption church is a Reformed Church in America congregation. This is unrelated to the topic, but I wanted to share something I found there. It's a church planting/apostolic ministry resource bibliography. Just the reviews make meaty reading!

It appears this is a denomination intent on reforming itself from a confessional religion to a missional movement.